Thursday, May 24, 2012

Brains Brains BRAINS! (it's a tastey giveaway)

The Bookish Brunette
Who doesn't love zombies? No one that's who. Because everyone loves zombies I'm letting you in on an awesome giveaway over at The Bookish Brunette  called Zombie Craze! I know, pretty sweet huh? Lots of freakin' excellent zombie books are being given away. So, either click on The Brunette's clicky link above or you can click on her pink Zombie Queen link on my right sidebar. Either way works and would be totally worth it! Giveaway ends on 5/31/12 so hurry!

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz


Synopsis: I am the One, the all and the only. I live in the Pendleton as surely as I live everywhere. I am the Pendleton's history and its destiny. The building is my place of conception, my monument, my killing ground. . . .
 —The Pendleton stands on the summit of Shadow Hill at the highest point of an old heartland city, a Gilded Age palace built in the late 1800s as a tycoon’s dream home. Almost from the beginning, its grandeur has been scarred by episodes of madness, suicide, mass murder, and whispers of things far worse. But since its rechristening in the 1970s as a luxury apartment building, the Pendleton has been at peace. For its fortunate residents—among them a successful songwriter and her young son, a disgraced ex-senator, a widowed attorney, and a driven money manager—the Pendleton’s magnificent quarters are a sanctuary, its dark past all but forgotten.

But now inexplicable shadows caper across walls, security cameras relay impossible images, phantom voices mutter in strange tongues, not-quite-human figures lurk in the basement, elevators plunge into unknown depths. With each passing hour, a terrifying certainty grows: Whatever drove the Pendleton’s past occupants to their unspeakable fates is at work again. Soon, all those within its boundaries will be engulfed by a dark tide from which few have escaped.

My Thoughts: This book was a revisit to Koontz's earlier horror type books which was a nice change of pace from the last few that I've read by him. I don't want to get into the plot of the book because to explain it I'd have to be way too detailed than I want to be at 3am but here are some pluses and minuses of the book...

Minuses---

A lot of characters (this is a big city condo building and this book is about the people in the building....there were close to 20)

Very wordy (one of the characters is a conspiracy theorist...I ended up skipping whole paragraphs when the book was focused on him)

Often times the book read a bit complex to where I was confused and had to back track and read parts again (sometimes whole pages)

Ended with some questions unanswered (however the ending was a plus overall)

Big bad evil creatures had a name that annoyed me (granted that is just a weird quirk of mine)

Pluses---
Interesting characters (not all of them but a large portion) a couple of which had some really good banter between them

Time travel (not a big fan of time travel but the way Koontz carried it out was very interesting)

Ultimately the ending (despite the fact that I still have some unanswered questions) was actually wrapped up nicely. Not too quickly wrapped up and it was quite satisfying.

The book is written in a way that I can only describe as each set of characters having their own television channel and we, the readers, are flipping through the channels which are being broadcasted live as the Pendelton building is going through some crazy stuff. So chapter two might have a heading that says Bailey Hawks then in a few pages it will skip to Winny and Twyla. Does that make any sense? There are also very short chapters scattered through the book italicized and titled as The One. These chapters are from the big bad evil's point of view. I think this way of writing this book was excellent especially with the number of characters involved. We were never wondering whose storyline we were reading about at any given moment.

I do wish the book had been at least 100 pages shorter (this book was hardcover at 450-ish pages) but I honestly don't know what he could have cut (other than some of his more elaborately descriptive passages).

Overall this book was an ok read. I think the build up took a long time despite the creepy happenings. Once I got to page 250 or so it sped up. But that is a long time to wait.

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Sweet Enemy by Diana Palmer

Synopsis: Under His Spell Sparring Partners Wholesome Maggie Kirk had always been wary of commanding cowboy Clint Raygen. So if her best friend's forbidding older brother rubbed her the wrong way, how come she'd chosen his ranch to recover from a broken heart? She knew the dangers that her foe posed . . . yet every time she crossed paths with the hard-edged cattle rancher, her pulse would race out of control. Maggie secretly dreamed of awakening to womanhood in Clint's powerful embrace . . . but did these sweet enemies have a shot at becoming lifelong lovers?

My Thoughts: So after finishing  Sweet Enemy I was hovering between 1 or 2 for a rating and decided based on the fact that this is a Harlequin written in 1979 I'd have to give it a little leeway so I went with the higher rating.

Overbearing older rich man. 20 year old naive virgin. Older man brutally kisses young woman one minute (because she wants it) and the next ridiculing her for her weakness (for wanting him). Over and over and over it went. They fought like cats and dogs but he apparently wanted her anyway, yet treated her badly. It was back to the frame of mind 'when a boy pulls your hair it means he likes you' kind of thing. The hero was terrible. He belittled her repeatedly then grabbed her forcibly and punished her with a long bruising kiss which she fought against for all of 1.5 seconds only to succumb to his expertise in the ways between a man and woman. At which point he would shove her away from him stare her down in an accusatory way because it was her fault he wanted her. I especially enjoyed (not) the time he told her to to tell him she wanted him. Then he made her beg for him. After she said please bend me over your desk....(ok that didn't really happen) but after she basically begged him to make love to her he mocked her feelings for him in such a way it made her feel 1/2 an inch tall. She managed to get a dig into him to try to salvage what was left of her dignity only to have him be even more calculating and mean to her later in retaliation to his bruised pride.

She was just as bad as he was. Her main flaw was that she let him treat her so poorly. In addition she actually decided she loved him. Really?

I rarely run across a book that I absolutely detest the two main characters so much but on the upside I liked a couple of the minor characters. One might have his own Harlequin out there somewhere (this book is book #179 in the MacFadden Romance series so who knows). Unfortunately the other character I actually liked died during the course of the book.

As far as Palmer's writing goes, I can't fault it that much other than I've heard she has not modified her style even after over 30 years of writing. Her heroes are all still like this and her heroines are all innocent virgins no matter what their age. As far as this book goes the only plot there seemed to be was the combustible relationship the hero and heroine had. I find it a bit odd that the romance is  the plot devise in this book. Normally you would find a plot that carries the storyline along during which, the H/h fall in love. So, plot not good. However, somehow Palmer did make me feel for the heroine during her lowest point despite the fact that I didn't like her and she was everything that I detest in a female character. So she gets kudos for that. Not everyone can make me feel sorry for a character that I hate.

Now the big question.....will I read another Palmer or not. I will. Only because this is the only book I've read by her and I believe in giving an author a better chance than that. I will read at least one more book by her just to make sure that this particular book wasn't just an unfortunate release to an otherwise stellar bibliography.

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